The long-rumored four-door coupe variant of the successful Bentley Bentayga is moving closer to production, according to sources within the company.
“I’m confident that it will happen and our team is working on the case for this car, but it is not yet approved for production. We are the first in the luxury SUV space and at the moment unopposed, but there are lots of rivals coming to the sector. The question we need to answer is if there is space for all these different body styles,” explained company boss Wolfgang Dürheimer in an interview with British magazine Autocar.
The new variant will look sportier than the existing Bentayga (pictured) thanks in part to a coupe-like sloping roof line. It will also be more dynamic to drive, though it’s expected to use the same 6.0-liter W12 engine as the regular model. If it’s approved for production, it will make its debut during a major auto show in 2019. By that point, many of Bentley’s rivals will have entered the burgeoning super-SUV segment.
The sleeker-looking off-roader could be the first in what’s expected to become a family of high-riding Bentayga-related SUVs. Autocar has learned that a long-wheelbase model is at the embryonic stage of development. It will be even more luxurious than the standard Bentayga, and it will be aimed primarily at markets such as China and the Middle East, where chauffeur-driven buyers value rear legroom above all.
Rolf Frech, Bentley’s head of engineering, revealed that a sportier model positioned near the top of the Bentayga hierarchy could also happen. Tentatively called Bentayga Speed, the supercar-baiting SUV will be capable of hitting 60 mph from a stop in less than 4 seconds, a statistic that will make it the fastest off-roader on the planet. Frech stressed that the Speed will arrive as a limited-edition model if it receives the proverbial green light for production.
The expansion is led by the unexpected popularity of Bentley’s first-ever SUV; the company is on track to deliver 5,600 examples of the Bentayga this year, which exceeds initial projections by more than 2,000. The model’s success has convinced Bentley to expand its lineup upwards, so the development of a smaller SUV has been put on hiatus for the time being.